Theo's Thoughts

Analysis of the Ejection

Welcome back to another article! I apologize for the month-long pause–with professional baseball in the middle of a lockout, there haven’t been that many new things to write about. That’s why I’ll be looking into the past today, at one of the most entertaining events in all of baseball: the ejection.

Earl Weaver, longtime manager of the Baltimore Orioles, in the thick of a fight with an umpire

Ejections are when a player, coach, or manager (most often a manager) is forced to leave the game after “disagreeing” with an umpire who made a questionable call (or sometimes for other reasons, read on to find out). In reality, this disagreement is not civil; it typically consists of a manager coming head to head with the umpire–or umpires–and then proceeding to spit, kick, curse, scream…by this point, the manager has already accepted the fact of his ejection, but persists with the goal of encouraging and motivating his team. Earl Weaver was famous for his ejection antics and hot temper. Weaver once said, “The job of arguing with the umpire belongs to the manager, because it won’t hurt the team if he gets thrown out of the game” (Baseball Almanac).

But why do managers get mad in the first place? With Retrosheet data, I discovered the answer to this question by way of a simple bar chart:

This shows the frequency of the various reasons why ejections happen–the far most popular being ball and strike calls, which have been the cause of more than four thousand ejections. Then comes the called third strike (which was deemed separate from ball and strike calls by Retrosheet), followed by calls at first base.

There are some amusing reasons for ejections on this graph, including bench jockeying, fighting, and fair/foul calls. The latter is not a cause for ejections in the present day because of replay review–whether a ball is fair or foul can be reversed–but it’s funny to imagine managers and umpires quarreling over balls just to the left or right of the foul line.

Next, I looked at who ejected the most, and who was ejected the most:

The first chart dramatically shows that Hall of Fame umpire Bill Klem was trigger-happy with the “you’re out of here!” call, and the second chart illustrates how Bobby Cox’s temper could not be contained one bit. Klem accumulated nearly 350 ejections, and Cox more than 150. If only Klem, an early 20th century umpire, and Cox, an early 21st century manager, were in the same game…I think we could guess what would happen!

I expected Weaver to be a bit higher on the all-time list–he’s fourth–but he did still terrorize umpires’ dreams with nearly 100 ejections. I enjoyed looking into this data, because I discovered some umpires who I’d never heard of before: Bob Davidson, Cy Rigler, and Tommy Connolly, to name a few. On a personal note, I’m an umpire in the local little league but I’ve only ejected one coach…you won’t be finding me on this list anytime soon!

Hopefully you enjoyed this article and I will see you next time. Let me know your all-time favorite ejection in the comments below! I’ll start: Lloyd McClendon “steals” first base (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhnoCkp2QUo)

Discussion

6 thoughts on “Analysis of the Ejection

  1. I don’t have a favorite, but there are some Earl weaver ejections of yoootube that are absolute comedy.

    Great job with the blog btw.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Gary Trujillo | December 21, 2021, 4:12 am
  2. I loved reading about earl weaver in Ron luciano’s books (may he Rest In Peace), so I gotta go with the day that he ejected weaver TWICE in one day.

    How?!?!

    Double-header.

    Like

    Posted by Tribefan | December 21, 2021, 5:08 am
  3. The calculated ejection seems to exist in baseball and basketball–but not the other major sports. Soccer and hockey and football are sports where the ejections are at the player level–which obviously hurts the team much more. Fun topic–thanks!

    Like

    Posted by BradT | December 21, 2021, 6:05 pm
  4. Fascinating. Knew nothing about this.
    Thanks, Theo.
    Hugs,
    Meta

    Like

    Posted by Saundra Tobman | December 22, 2021, 12:42 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog Stats

  • 2,267 Views

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: